No. 21 Merrimack Women’s Lacrosse Stuns No. 8 New Haven
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshman Meghan Dzialo exploded for a career-high six goals while sophomore Ally DaCosta set up five goals herself, as the 21st-ranked Merrimack College women’s lacrosse team roared back from an early one-goal deficit, building as large as a six-goal first half lead and then closing it out in the second half with a phenomenal defensive showing to upset No. 8 New Haven in a 13-8 victory on Saturday at Merrimack Stadium.
- Looking to knock off its second ranked opponent this season, Merrimack set the tone early with a goal from senior Annette Ruggiero just 39 seconds into the game, but New Haven responded with the next two, giving the Chargers a 2-1 lead just past the five-minute mark.
- That would be the first and only time that the visitors would ever lead in the cost, as junior Amber Feminella tied the game with 23:06 left to play, setting up a string of three straight Warrior goals.
- Dzialo’s first two markers came less than a minute apart, pushing the Warriors in front by a 4-2 margin before New Haven answered with 14:48 left in the half to make it a one-goal affair.
- Merrimack would promptly answer by scoring the next four goals as part of a 6-1 scoring run to close out the first half. Dzialo had the first two before junior Bridget Schofield made it a 7-3 lead for the hosts. Dzialo then netted her fifth with 12:15 left before New Haven temporarily stopped the bleeding with 9:38 left in the half. Dzialo and Schofield would score 20 seconds apart, and the defense took over from there, keeping New Haven off the board over the final nine minutes of the half to take a six-goal lead (10-4) into the break.
- The Warriors hit the crossbar on an early scoring opportunity in the second half, and New Haven would use that fortuitous bounce to tilt the momentum in their favor, scoring three straight goals to turn a six-goal deficit into a three-goal game (10-7) with 25 minutes left.
- Schofield scored arguably the biggest goal of the game off a great feed from senior Carly McKenna with the Warriors up a player at 22:38, and then Ruggiero and Feminella would add insurance tallies later in the half to match their largest lead of the game (13-7) before New Haven scored one final goal with 8:10 left. That was the closest the visitors would get as Merrimack would hang on for its second win over a ranked team this season.
- The six goals by Dzialo matched the most by any player in any game for Merrimack this season, as the rookie enjoyed her finest game of her young Merrimack career.
- Five of Merrimack’s 13 goals would not have happened without the tremendous playmaking ability of DaCosta, who tied her career high from earlier in the season with her five helpers on Saturday, the most by a Warrior in a single game this season.
- Schofield also had a hat trick and finished with four points, while Ruggiero and Feminella had two goals apiece. Rookie Lulu Sweeney tied her career high with two assists, as well.
- Freshman Catherine Mahanna had another strong showing with a team-high four draw controls, while sophomore Courtney Capobianco led Merrimack with four ground balls and shared the team lead with classmate Danielle Schweitzer in caused turnovers with two.
- Sophomore Tammy Nguyen started the game before junior Lauren Trepaney took over and ultimately finished with 11 saves as part of a stellar showing in net.
Notes & Numbers
- After Saturday’s win, Merrimack has already surpassed last year’s victory total and has its most wins in a season since 2013 after just eight games.
- DaCosta now ranks fourth in the league in assists with 16 on the year.
- Feminella added to her league lead in goal-scoring and now stands at 33 tallies on the season.
- Merrimack’s 11 caused turnovers as a team were fourth-most in a game this year, while the Warriors took care of the ball well by going 20-for-22 in clears.
- Merrimack outshot New Haven by three (33-30) with a 24-19 edge in shots on goal; ground balls were also even at 18-18 on Saturday, as well, while New Haven had one more draw control (12-11).
- With 13 more goals on Tuesday, the Warriors have recorded double-digit goal totals in each of their first eight games, doing so for the first time since the 2011 season when they did so in their first eight games of the year.
- Merrimack’s 5-3 start is its best eight-game record since the 2011 season, as well; that year, the Warriors finished 12-7 overall.
Merrimack will head up to Vermont for a Wednesday (March 28) afternoon matchup against Saint Michael’s College beginning at 3:30 p.m.